Erica Compton often tells people she’s old-school, because of how she started in the industry—from the ground up. Her first entry into Maritime was in a temporary role at Sea-Land over 20 years ago sending out past-due notices. After six months of stuffing envelopes, she walked into her then boss’ office and stated firmly, “If you don’t give me something else to do, I’m going to look for another job.” He appreciated her tenacity and initiative, so he assigned her a few A/R accounts to collect against (in addition to stuffing envelopes). This jumpstarted her career and after two years, she became Collections Supervisor. She progressed through all of the back-office departments, learning how each tied together and, ultimately, to the overall operations. The visibility and knowledge afforded her a passion for people and process improvement. “The more I learned, the more I looked for ways to make things better, so my team could operate more efficiently,” she said. “I became a change agent and gravitated towards roles where I could make an impact.” Ultimately, this passion led Erica to The Pasha Group. She was initially hired in June 2015 to oversee Pasha Hawaii’s container customer support and rating teams in Irving, TX; her role quickly evolved to include all back-office departments. Within 1.5 years, the Irving Shared Services Center (SSC) was fully operational in support of Pasha Hawaii container service. By March 2017, her responsibilities expanded to include oversight of all SSC locations. Her overarching responsibility is to ensure SSC continues to provide value to the organization through efficient talent management/development, effective execution of service level agreements, and cost-control. “This is by far a team effort; thus our partnership with our internal business counterparts greatly assist in making SSC successful,” she added.
For Erica, each day is the same, yet different. “I collaborate with my team and the Business daily to refine existing processes, as well as stand up new initiatives. I regularly work with all levels of the organization to educate myself on process and to seek out different perspectives. The continual learning of our Enterprise operations is very rewarding. Understanding the diversities of each service offering, yet observing how they connect to bring about the Pasha brand excites me for our future growth.”
Without question, her fondest adventure and coincidentally her biggest challenge was the Horizon Lines’ Hawaii business acquisition. “I’ve lived through several acquisitions; however, this one challenged me the most, but not from the perspective many may think,” she said. “Putting in the work to stabilize our service was easy compared to ‘letting go’. Letting go of the familiar and embracing new systems/processes, new ideas of what right looked like, and ultimately a new culture. Even for a change agent, like myself, this one was tough to overcome, but I had to make a choice. I could allow myself to get stuck in the past or become part of something much greater and help drive our success. The choice was obvious and one I’m glad to have made early in the game.” Erica enjoys partnering with all levels of the organization and seeing positive movement. “The ability to work together towards a common goal and achieve success is the heartbeat of my work existence. No one gets anything accomplished on their own. Watching our organization morph into one cohesive unit is exciting and definitely a journey I’m glad to take.”
Erica traveled frequently during her daughter, Kayla’s elementary to middle school years and her classmates and teachers would often ask her, “What does your mother do?” Kayla never had a good response, so her classmates took an educated guess: CIA Agent. It was quite hysterical, but made her realize she would never be able to properly explain her job absent Kayla experiencing it hands on. Having Kayla intern this past summer at The Pasha Group was gratifying for both of them. Each location offered her more insight into the overall operations, helping to further define the shipment life cycle. Kayla’s most memorable moment, as expected, was riding a Pasha Hawaii containership from Oakland to Los Angeles. By the time Kayla made it to the ship, she was excited that she understood the context of the discussion due to her prior location visits. She expressed much praise for Captain Ron and his crew, the industry knowledge they shared, and the genuine kindness displayed. Kayla now knows exactly what Erica does, how important our industry is to day-to-day living, and she has developed relationships and experiences that will last a lifetime. In December, she will be graduating with a degree in Supply Chain Management and Erica is grateful to Pasha for allowing her the opportunity to be taught first-hand by some of the best professionals in the industry.
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